Who knew there was a term for an animal/human hybrid? Actually, “cybrid” is short for “cytoplasmic hybrid.”
Wesley Smith has already reported on the story that scientists in the UK – where such things are regulated by the government, unlike in the USA – have requested permission to produce a somatic cell nuclear transfer embryo using the cytoplasm from an enucleated cow egg and human nuclear DNA.
The Telegraph has this FAQ on the proposed procedure.
Will the cells of the hybrids have other benefits?
Yes. Although cybrid stem cells could not be used for treatments and will not be allowed to develop beyond an early stage, they will prove invaluable for studies of how to clone embryonic stem cells more efficiently — so human eggs could eventually be used — and could be used to test drugs on cell lines created from people with Alzheimer’s disease, and shed light on the basic disease process.
But that’s not all the “Facts.”
If you read between the lines and remember your cloning history, you’ll see that it’s not just that human oocytes come to dear and are too hard to obtain. Remember, no one’s been able to clone a human embryo by SCNT (using human oocytes and DNA) long enough to produce embryonic stem cells. However, a Shanghai researcher claims to have been able to do so using a rabbit oocyte and human nuclear DNA.
So, these scientists have given up on human cloning and are just going for the next best thing that they hope is a sure thing.